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26 February 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Eugene Seegers
Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Coetzee, South Campus Principal, Tshegofatso Setilo, Director Access, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector Operations
Prof Francis Petersen, Prof Daniella Coetzee (Principal: South Campus), Tshegofatso Setilo (Head: Access Programmes), and Prof Prakash Naidoo (Vice-Rector: Operations) on the South Campus for the welcoming of first-years.


“Welcome to the South Campus of the University of the Free State!” Addressing a packed Madiba Arena, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said he was happy to see not only first-year students, but also parents and guardians, student leadership, and support staff from both the Bloemfontein and South Campuses.

 “I would like to congratulate each of our first-year students for making the decision to come to Kovsies to further your studies here. But I would also like to thank you for making this choice,” he continued.

Prof Petersen further emphasised that the students’ experience and success as individuals are important to the UFS as an institution; therefore, academic and support staff are on hand to guide them through their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals. “We will surely take care of you,” said Prof Petersen. He also reassured parents and guardians that their loved ones would be well looked after.

The Rector also focused attention on the role of student-leadership structures, such as the newly-formed Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) and South Campus SRC, members of which were present in the audience. He thanked them for playing a key role in the student constituency, highlighting their support and guidance to help first-years cultivate a sense of belonging at the UFS.

Turning back to first-year students, Prof Petersen stated that they have the unique opportunity to study on a campus specifically focused on developing their full potential, a campus where they can realise their dreams. “Your arrival on the campus marks a new chapter in your life. This chapter is slightly different, as you are the author thereof. The previous chapters in your life were largely written by others—your parents, guardians, families, teachers, and others. You will now be the main author in the next chapter of your unique story.”

“At Kovsies, we believe in developing students in their totality as human beings, not just the academic side. May your time with us equip you to make a success of your life after university!”

Prof Petersen’s Message to First-year Students
  1. Take responsibility for your academic programme.
    • Keep your focus. Study and study hard. You will reap the rewards and see the advantages of making success in your studies a top priority.
    • Make sure that you have enough time for your studies; balance your social life and your time set aside to study.
  2. Realise and remember that you are not alone.
    • If you find things difficult, seek help.
    • Our Department of Student Counselling and Development has trained staff and tailor-made programmes that can assist you.
    • Look after your mental health—and look after each other’s mental health.
  3. Make the most of your time at Kovsies.
    • Join one or more of the student organisations; why not try something new?
  4. Embrace difference and diversity.
    • Get to know students who are different from you.
    • You will lose valuable opportunities to grow if you only associate with your own all the time. It is important to get to know students who are different from you. It could be someone from a different part of the country, or from another country, a different ethnicity, a different religion, someone who has different views from yours, or who has different interests and perspectives.

News Archive

NRF commits R30-million for research at the UFS
2007-02-20

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has committed approximately R30-million for various research projects at the University of the Free State (UFS).
 
According to Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director of Research Development at the UFS, the NRF has also approved all eight research niche areas that were submitted to the NRF, the highest number approved at any university in the country.
 
Prof Swanepoel said the 24 research projects for which funding had been obtained from the NRF ranged from traditional healing and HIV/Aids/tuberculosis management, practices of the paediatric anti-retroviral programme at the UFS to nano-materials synthesis and characterisation.
 
He said the eight research niche areas were part of an initiative at the UFS to establish strategic clusters of academic and research excellence.
 
“There will be six strategic academic clusters at the UFS and the eight NRF-approved research niche areas will form part of them,” Prof Swanepoel said.
 
The six strategic clusters are:
1.         Water management in water-scarce areas
2.         New frontiers in poverty reduction and sustainable development
3.         Social transformation in diverse societies
4.         Ecologically sound value chains for agricultural commodities
5.         Materials and nano sciences
6.         Advanced bio-molecular research
 
Prof Swanepoel said that the UFS had also submitted five proposals in terms of an NRF initiative to establish research chairs at South African universities.
 
“Linked to our intention to establish six strategic academic clusters, five proposals for the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARCHi) were submitted. All five pre-proposals were accepted in the first round of screening, and successful candidates have been invited to submit full proposals by the end of February,” he said.
 
The proposed research chairs are:
 
Petro- and organometallic chemistry
Biocatalytic and biomimetic oxidation-reduction systems
Nano-solid state lighting
People’s health and well-being
Water management
 
Speaking at the official opening of the university earlier this month, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie, said: “The cluster initiative represents a strategic initiative to focus our energies in a few key areas, investing in them so that the UFS can become an international leader in those fields.”
 
“A medium sized university such as the UFS with relatively limited human, physical and financial resources has to achieve this kind of ‘critical mass’ and synergy to establish itself in terms of its core functions of teaching/learning, research and community engagement,” said Prof Fourie.
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
20 February 2007

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